Updates To Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Suing The DNC Reveal That This Lawsuit Isn't Going Anywhere
Tuesday night saw the sixth Republican presidential debate go down in South Carolina, and if it made one thing pretty clear, it's how much drama there is in the Republican race. Tension, dramatics, resentment, posturing, anger, all of it, But, perhaps by virtue of how much noise the GOP primaries have generated, it's easy to forget that there was a dustup of a more serious variety on the Democratic side of things ― so, what happened with Bernie Sanders' lawsuit against the DNC?
It all went down back in December, when the Democratic National Committee announced that the Sanders campaign had been caught accessing Clinton campaign voter filed from the party's database during a firewall crash. As punishment, the DNC cut off the Sanders campaign's access to the database outright, including its own voter files ― in terms of the on-the-ground mechanics of running a presidential campaign, that's practically a kneecapping.
So Sanders fired the staffer involved with the breach, blasted the DNC's punishment for being too severe, and then sued them. Ultimately, the main facet of the conflict didn't hold up for very long, as just days later, the two sides came to an agreement restoring the Sanders campaign's access to its voter data.
So, case closed, right? Not exactly. As The Daily Beast's Gideon Resnick detailed last week, despite the restoration of their access to the database, the lawsuit is still ongoing. Which seems pretty curious, considering Sanders' current position ― he's been ascending in the polls, now solidly threatening Clinton both in Iowa and New Hampshire, his various complaints against the DNC notwithstanding.
And considering that a major line of attack for Clinton supporters is that Sanders isn't a real Democrat, and is disloyal to the party (his call to primary President Obama from the left in 2012 is often cited), wouldn't it make sense to call the whole thing off? Where's the gain?
Well, as it turns out, there might still be some financial questions in play. As Dan Roberts and Ben Jacobs reported for The Guardian in late December, a less-heralded aim of the Sanders campaign's lawsuit was payment for the time they argue the DNC unduly cut off their access. In particular, it cited an agreement between the campaigns and the DNC that there be a 10-day warning period before anyone could be locked out of the voter database.
And the price tag the Sanders campaign requested is lofty: $600,000 per day. The issue of the vendor that was tasked with managing the database was also raised, with Sanders insisting that "the DNC is relying on an incompetent vendor who on more than one occasion has dropped the firewall between the various Democratic candidates’ data."
It'll be fascinating to see whether this situation's continuance comes up during Sunday night's Democratic presidential debate. So far, Sanders and Clinton have been taking the proverbial gloves off in the New Year so far, with the Iowa caucuses drawing near and the polls moving in the Vermont senator's favor. Suffice it to say, an active lawsuit against the DNC is not the kind of topic you'd expect to just slip past.